Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Losing It

January 14, 2012

Dear Flynt,

I like to lose things. Well, maybe like is not the correct word. But, I do lose stuff often enough, that some part of me must enjoy the experience. As miserable as it always is. I keep doing it, on a loop. Almost like my subconscious intervenes and says

“I think it’s about time you relive the experience of loss. ”

Thanks, subconscious.

Wallets, cash, and ID’s are my favorites. But make-up bags, scarves, hats, gloves, books, journals, and even ear rings have also fallen victim to the mysterious displacing act that I can’t seem to resist. I lose track of time. I forget what happened to Thursday. I lose touch with friends. I’ve lost my way. Lost my drive. You name it, I’ve probably lost it.

The first few years after your death, I had a recurring nightmare of being lost in a bizarre or carnival. And on top of that, I was searching for some lost item. It was often a purse. Sometimes my shoes. A few times it was a stuffed animal. I would ask everyone for help but no one would have the slightest interest. They would ignore me, mostly. Or scoff and scorn me. Shame me. Often there was laughing. Insidious and maniacal.

No one ever had compassion for my desperation that was mounting or my need to locate this “very important thing” that had slipped through my grasps. And I’d be lost looking for this one, overly important article that I had lost. Unable to find my way. And losing it. Panicked that I’d never find my way out of the madness or locate the missing item.

In the dream, I never did. The revelers of the Carnival would carry on around me and then I’d wake up feeling, well, lost. Profoundly, unabashedly lost.

It was a terrible dream I had almost every night for at least a year. Okay, probably two years.

I didn’t need a therapist to tell me that dream was about you. But I did need a therapist to spend some time in my waking life working out the panic I had surrounding the unshakable loss I felt. And the shame attached to it. Combined with the isolation, that feeling that I was lost, and nobody cared.

I haven’t had that dream in quiet some time. Thank God.

But what I’m loosing touch with, these days, is that lost feeling. I often panic on the subway, or street. Grab my purse. Manicly locate my wallet, keys, check book, phone. All there. The stabbing panic just a reminder of how it feels when things easily go missing from one’s life, even, or especially when I feel like I’ll always have all the things I need.

The calm that follows is fleeting. Despite having everything in its place, there is the memory of the one “thing” that will always be missing. You. The terror of accidentally giving leave to something, in truth, more or less replaceable, is in par with the fear of loosing something that is, more or less, irreplaceable. The love and support of my still living father. But I’ve already lost that. I remember. Feels bad. I don’t like that feeling, but put myself through it,as not to forget.

Why does the blood thinning fear still exist? And why have I transferred that feeling to the experience of forgetting where I put my pocket book??As a twisted reminder of how it felt when I lost you? That doesn’t make much logical sense, but I’m afraid it explains why I continue to practice this absent minded behavior.

I hate that my life is functioning quite well without you. I’ve got my shit together. I pay my bills. I do my laundry. Day in and day out passes by with little drama and few complications. I don’t technically need you, anymore. Nor do I need to hold fast to the memory of you to get through the day. That truth hasn’t stopped me from wanting to need you.

Admitting to needing you wasn’t allowed when you were alive. When it was a cold hard fact, as a child, nor when it was just a desire as I aged. But I’m admitting to it now. I still want to need you. Even though you are dead. Even though there are mountains of evidence to the contrary. Simply because I clearly no longer need you, hasn’t helped me to cease wanting it.

But, I don’t. And that truth is slowly settling into my awareness. Some part of me hates it.

I miss missing you. I miss that horrible nightly tribute to you. That is what I have seemed to have lost most recently. And its less missing you, the man you were. But more, missing you the man I wish you had been. I spent years searching for that in my subconscious dream state. Now, a weird acceptance has taken its place.

“My dad is dead. I don’t need him anymore. ”

I’m very uncomfortable with the comfort that is suppose to bring.

I’d become so use to that feeling of “something” being missing from my life, that I recreate it, I suppose to connect with you. Yes, Dad, I’m about to blame you for one more thing I can’t seem to get right in my life. I lose my ID, or identity, if you will, sometimes to connect to that feeling that no longer organically dwells within me. To prove to myself, also, that I can put things back together, just like I did after your death. To step back into the “fix it” mode of living. “I’ve still got it” I say to myself as I retrace my steps, and fully recover the lost item. Its exhausting to keep pulling up these feelings. And I want to want to stop.

I might should instead be learning to enjoy the easy sailing portion, I have painstakingly constructed for myself. But that seems strange. And not really something I can guiltlessly enjoy, knowing that you are gone. Always and forever. I shouldn’t be enjoying myself. Right?

In truth, missing you, is how I keep you around. When I stop feeling like I don’t need to miss you anymore, then you will really be gone. And I’m afraid I will no longer feel lost. And, in turn, actually be just that.

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Categories: Letters I Will Never Send

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